Saturday, May 8, 2010

My SL Home: It's not just a place, it's a feeling

I have called the Costa Rica Sims Estate my home for almost as long as I have been a SL resident. In RL, my family has a close connection to this small Central American country. Years ago, my husband and I vacationed in Costa Rica and fell in love with the country. We loved it so much that we decided to scrape together every last penny that we had, and two years later, we were able to buy a small piece of property where we will one day retire. This is a life long project for us and as things are now, our modest little house stands about half finished.  

Costa Rica is indeed a special place for us. It’s where my daughter learned to swim in the ocean, had her first taste of papaya picked fresh from the tree, and it's where my son was born. I feel so happy for my children who will grow up with warm memories of family times in Costa Rica.

Now before you go gettin' jealous of my glamourous lifestyle (ha ha, just kidding), I just wanna say that we work hard to maintain the house and property. We aren’t rich and we have had to make some sacrifices in our lives here in Canada so we can save up money to finish the house in Costa Rica. But I know that all the hard work is going to be worth it in the end…some day.  

When I first found SL, we hadn’t been able to go to Costa Rica for over three years. I was sorely missing the climate and being able to work on the property and the house. Our dream was starting to feel like a fading memory.  So when I first heard of the Costa Rica Sims, I was pretty stoked about checking it out and seeing how it measured up to the real thing. I was not disappointed in what I found. I was amazed, and still am, by the detail put into the sim. It really is an amazingly accurate representation of Costa Rica. The Costa Rica Sims Estate gives realism in SL a whole new meaning.  

It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted my SL home to be in the Costa Rica Sims Estate. At the time I didn’t even really know what exactly I wanted in a parcel except that I wanted something green. As beautiful as the white sand beaches of Costa Rica are, I prefer green, and in rl, my Costa Rica house is not on the beach. It’s up in the hills surrounded by lush green tropical plants and trees (and howler monkeys that wake us up at the crack of dawn lol). And since I had been missing the house so much, I wanted to recreate that for my SL home (the lush green, not the loud monkeys). 
I found a pretty little parcel in the lush green sim of Alajuela Sureste. I absolutely love it. 
Inspired by the view of the waterfalls from my house, I named my parcel Cascada Pura Vida.  

Translated literally, Pura Vida means “pure life”, but the expression goes way beyond the literal translation. The Ticos, as the locals affectionately refer to themselves, use the phrase as a greeting, a farewell or even to express satisfaction. Pura Vida is a phrase that is very meaningful to Ticos and it expresses a sense of community, perseverance, resilience in overcoming challenges with good spirits and savouring life slowly. Sounds pretty good to me :D  

Did you know that in RL, Costa Rica is considered the greenest, happiest country in the world and tops the Happy Planet Index? It also has one of the longest life expectancy rates in the new world, 77 years. It must be that Pura Vida lifestyle…and the climate of course. It doesn’t surprise me that the SL version of Costa Rica maintains a 99% occupancy rate and it’s residents often stay long term. Estate owner Giancarlo Takacs has definitely captured the true essence of his beautiful home country. I can feel it every time I go off exploring something new he has added to the estate… the Geko Stoop Memorial Forest:  
The forest was created in honour of long time Costa Rica Sims resident Geko Stoop, who passed away this year. It’s a stunningly beautiful forest and is one of my favourite spots to go and chill out and relax in the peaceful atmosphere.
One of the things I love about the estate is that ban lines are not permitted so that residents and visitors can freely fly around the estate or explore by land or water. I don’t mind passersby, and in fact I like having explorers stop by. Feel free to come take a look at my parcel - so long as you respect my home as well as the homes of my neighbours. Perhaps if i'm around when you decide to drop by, we can explore the estate together :))

There’s lots to see, like the Plaza Colonial shopping district, often referred to as the Rodeo Drive of Second Life...
You can visit the active Volcan Arenal, that is complete with lava and volcanic ash eruptions...
A lush rainforest located in Parque Nacional Volcan Tenorio...
You can surf the epic waves at Las Baulas, Just watch out for the turtles, this is also their nesting grounds....
Bird watching at Palo Verde...
White water rafting...
and you can watch the humpback whales from the Parque Nacional Marino Bellena...
There's so much to see and do, I don't have room here to fit it all in here. Instead, I'll let you read all about it at the Costa Rica Sims Estate Blog.  

So, as you can see, there are many reasons why I love my SL home so much. But the biggest reason why it’s so important to me is because it is a reminder of my RL goal of one day calling Costa Rica my home.  
My SL home is not an exact replica, but that doesn’t really matter anyways. To me it is a virtual representation of a RL goal, and each time I log in and rezz at my parcel, I am reminded of what it is I am working towards. It motivates me to keep going and hold to my vision of what my home in Costa Rica will one day be like. It’s kind of like my interactive virtual vision board...and it feels like home.  

And guess what...I think my virtual vision board works. This past winter we had a 3.5 week family vacation in Costa Rica for the first time in over 3 years, and it was fabulous.  

Have a great day peoples....Pura Vida!
RL - sunset at Mal Pais, Costa Rica

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